Review: The Art of Protest: Creating, Discovering, and Activating Art for Your Revolution

Cover of the book with the title in the center and drawn or painted scense from portests and also artworks related to protests.

The Art of Protest: Creating, Discovering, and Activating Art for Your Revolution by De Nichols, illustrated by Diana Dagadita, Molly Mendoza, Olivia Twist, Saddo, and Diego Becas
Big Picture Press

Summary: From the psychedelic typography used in “Make Love Not War” posters of the ’60s to the solitary raised fist, some of the most memorable and striking protest artwork from across the world and throughout history deserves a long, hard look. Readers can explore each piece of art to understand how color, symbolism, technique, and typography play an important role in communication. Guided by activist, lecturer, and speaker De Nichols’s powerful narrative and stunningly illustrated by a collaboration of young artists, this volume also has plenty of tips and ideas for creating your own revolutionary designs. This is a fully comprehensive look at the art of protest.

My Thoughts: Within these pages, young readers will find a treasure trove of information about artivism, which according to De Nichols, “combines activism with the power of visual, performative, and experiential art in order to seek positive change.” There is a lot of information, but activities are also proposed along with guidance so that young readers can get started with their own work.

De Nichols is someone who works in collaboration with others and often works to connect people who are seeking the same goals. This book is another piece of artivism done in this communal way. Multiple artists worked to create the visuals that do a fabulous job of supporting the text. The design of the book is out of the ordinary and is reminiscent of protest signs and people using easily available materials to create quick public art. The cover is made of two thick pieces of cardboard and the sewing is visible as there is no spine. Though there are many contributing artists with a variety of styles, they did keep to a similar palette so there is some continuity in that way.

Nichols speaks to how powerful art can be in response to causes that are important to people. I really appreciated the timeline of protest art that highlights protests around the world. There is also a section that explains the use of symbolism, color, and looks into communicating via visual versus verbal language. Readers learn a lot about design elements, but all through the lens of activism and using that design purposefully to create change.

Another portion of the book features youth activists and how they are making change happen right now. It’s encouraging to see the many examples of youth leadership in our world today. It offers proof that young people can really communicate their message in incredible ways using things as simple as sidewalk chalk and posters or more complicated means like technology.

Recommendation: Get it soon especially if you have an interest in youth activism. There are many examples and ideas to inspire folks and give them hope for change.

Pages: 80
Availability: On shelves now
Review copy: Final copy via publisher

De Nichols TedTalk